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Sports Features of Saturday, 16 August 2014

Source: christopher opoku/

Technical adviser? GFA is confused and lacks collective balls!

When the news broke on Monday that the Ghana Football Assocation had constituted a three-man committee to select a Technical Adviser for the Black Stars, so many things went through my mind.

For starters, all the talk about bringing in a technical director for the Black Stars, which was subsequently denied by the GFA’s Communications directorate, has since turned out to be true.

Secondly, even if the GFA hierarchy continues to publicly trot out the well worn line that it has full confidence in Black Stars head coach Kwesi Appiah, the reality couldn’t be more different.

Hypocrisy and double standards have become the order of the day in this regard and I will explain why I am letting rip like that, because I am finding it impossible to understand why the GFA is wallowing in a river of indecision and confusion, and in the process, taking mind-boggling decisions.

Let me make some reference to a joint phone interview I had with the GFA’s Communications Director, Ibrahim Sannie Daara on Joy FM this week. Daara mentioned that the GFA was taking inspiration from the fact that some of the countries playing at the World Cup had technical advisers and the GFA has realized the need to do the same; hence the need to get a technical adviser.

To some degree, I will elaborate on Daara’s point by adding that Juergen Klinsmann had Berti Vogts as his technical adviser and Carlos Alberto Parreira acted in a similar capacity for Luis Felipe Scolari, but that is where the similarities end.

Klinsmann specifically asked for Vogts, and Scolari also asked for Parreira, but what are we hearing here? Appiah will be allowed to recommend two names, and other names will be recommended by members of the GFA Executive Committee, after which a short list of five will be drawn up by the three-man committee comprising GFA Vice President Fred Crentsil as chairman and Fred Pappoe and Francis Oti Akenteng as members.

So what happens when the person eventually selected is not part of Appiah’s recommendations? That is a recipe for chaos and disaster! Indeed, we are told on authority that Appiah has since recommended two indigenous coaches and his recommendations have since been rejected.

In my opinion, Appiah should have been allowed to do his recommendations without the need for a committee. For me, the latest developments clearly show that the GFA is not even comfortable in allowing Appiah free rein at choosing who he wants to help him out. So much for confidence in Appiah’s competencies!

I will never forget the July 2 press conference held by the GFA at Alisa Hotel, just after the team returned from Brazil. The way and manner in which GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi expressed total confidence in Appiah’s capabilities as a coach, despite Ghana’s poor performance was a sight to behold.

Indeed the GFA that day sought to portray that the two major reasons why the Black Stars did not do well was the failure to pay the players their appearance fees on time and player indiscipline in camp.

Indeed, I am told on authority that before the press conference, Nyantakyi had presented the same scenario to the Executive Committee.

So does this latest development mean that the public show of support for Appiah on July 2 was nothing more than an Academy Award winning performance from the GFA for hypocrisy and double standards? Why would the GFA now want a technical adviser for Appiah after telling the whole world that he is competent?

We now know that Nyantakyi met with Appiah on Friday and broached the idea to the coach and Appiah agreed.

The former Ghana captain inked a new two-year deal worth an estimated $36,500 a month plus a signing on fee in the region of $100,000. This was before the World Cup and should he be fired now, he will be entitled to three months salary (almost $110,000) in compensation.

Anyone getting the job of Technical Adviser will not take less than $40,000 a month and now we are being told it is for an initial 6-month period. That comes to total expenditure of $240,000.

Combined with Kwasi Appiah’s renumeration over the same six month period will see the GFA and government splashing a total of $559,000 over the next six months, including the signing on fee.

If the GFA decides to sack Kwasi Appiah, compensation of $110,000 will have to be paid and presumably a new head coach comes in that takes, for the purposes of argument, $50,000 a month plus a signing on fee of $100,000, that will come to a total of $510,000 over the next six months which would be a saving of $49,000 over the period, with respect to having both Kwesi Appiah and the Technical Adviser at post.

I will leave you to judge whether the GFA in this regard is being financially prudent or not, especially in the existing economic situation.

Kwesi Appiah is also in a catch-22 situation because I am told that under the terms of the new contract, if he walks away, he would have to pay a minimum of three months salary to the GFA as compensation. So as it stands, the GFA and Appiah are stuck with each other for obvious reasons.

Again, Appiah’s agreement to this signals a lack of faith in assistant Maxwell Konadu. Konadu was supposed to be the tactical foil for Appiah but it is as clear as day that Konadu’s input doesn’t matter too much to Appiah.

If it did, some of the defenders Konadu used in the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) would have made it into the World Cup squad, given Ghana’s well-documented challenges in defence, which were soon laid bare in Brazil. I wonder what the imminent appointment of a new technical adviser will do to his role with the team. My guess is that Konadu will be marginalized.

My conclusion is that the GFA has failed to show leadership and the collective balls to do what they should have done; sacking Kwesi Appiah or, maintain him if they have so much faith in him (obviously the GFA does not). The GFA has displayed hypocrisy in failing to tell Appiah directly that they want to part ways with him and then discuss a suitable severance package.

Instead, Appiah will be undermined by the appointment and whoever gets the job as Adviser. With Appiah losing the dressing room in Brazil (some argue that it is not the case, but I disagree), how would the players see him now with his authority curtailed? Will they pay more attention to Appiah or the adviser?

For me, it is painfully obvious that the GFA doesn’t think that Appiah can do the job and since the aim is to win the 2015 African Nations Cup in Morocco, bringing in someone with the initial title of technical adviser will help, especially since the person will metamorphose into the head coach anyway.

I will end by saying that what the GFA is doing is not only creating the avenue for financial wastage, but a platform for chaos and disaster and if care is not taken, even if the Black Stars should qualify, reaching the quarterfinals might prove to be the limit of the team’s capabilities.